Can horses cope with sudden cold weather?
Horses can survive and even thrive in what we consider to be very inhospitable conditions, but they do need plenty of feed to fuel them and keep them warm.
Our best-selling forage is HayCare but we are sometimes asked how we came to produce this popular feed.
For several years, we had wanted a pure forage that could replace hay directly. It had to be grass, as hay is grass! It had to be high fibre, as hay is high fibre. And it had to be low in sugar so it is suitable for all horses, even those with issues.
We opted to use Timothy grass as this is one of the best grasses for horses (click here to read more about this ingredient). There is plenty of grass grown in the UK for making into pellets, but most of this is harvested at optimum nutrition at an early stage of growth and much of it, varieties that are not optimal for horses. The grass can then grow again, and the farmer can take three or even more cuts a year. Persuading a farmer to allow their grass to become fibrous and go to seed goes against the farming grain!
Although of lower feed value than our other dried grass feeds, HayCare is actually more expensive to grow. By waiting to allow the grass to meet our nutritional specification, the farmer will have one less cut per year, which affects the bottom line. Nevertheless, after 6 years of trying to convince our trusted growers that this was a good idea, success came our way. Now all we had to do was analyse the feed and trial it to ensure it was palatable, it soaked quickly and it actually performed the job it was intended for. Fortunately, that all went well and we had created a feed with the specification of good quality, high fibre hay!
The first production run was 5th November 2015 and we are now in position where our farmers, are very happy to supply HayCare and we have a great working relationship with them. The grass is harvested when the nutrient, fibre and sugar levels meet are our exacting specification and is chopped and rapidly dried as soon as it comes in from the field, pelleted and transported direct to our warehouse for bagging, and then despatching to our customers.
Six years is a long time to bring a feed to market, but it gave us plenty of time to come up with a suitable name! That involved a lot of discussion…
If you have any questions about HayCare or any other Simple System feeds, please contact our Feed Line nutrition team on 01728 604 008.